Archive for March, 2011

Does fluency occur in stages?

Here’s the problem with an all-TPRS Chinese program: there’s no reason why students would not be able to acquire virtually all the structure in modern standard Chinese by the end of the second year. Unlike the FIGS, where there are six forms to be taught for every tense (not to mention different endings within a […]

Negotiation of Meaning: Is it Different in CI Instruction?

From our friends (really…they used to be a good interpreting client of mine when I lived in Taipei!) at the British Council, a definition and some examples of “negotiation of meaning”, a popular language teaching buzzword. Does it apply to CI-based instruction? (British Council information in italics below.) Negotiation of meaning is a process that […]

“There must be output…”

A comment recently appeared — generally in support of TPRS, too — on a language teachers’ discussion list: To make TPRS effective, the instructor needs to go beyond just telling stories in the classroom. There needs to be instances where students are engaged into negotiation of meaning, purposeful uses of the target language, and opportunities […]

What if they…?

My concern is that if these students were to transfer schools and go on to level 4/AP (which our school doesn’t offer yet), would they be totally lost? When is education going to stop playing the “what-if” game? This isn’t a strike against the teacher who posted the above comment on a language teachers’ list […]

The Culture Club

The cry goes up: TPRS doesn’t teach culture. TPRS is a language acquisition method based in Comprehensible Input. As such, it believes that the road to acquisition lies in having students hear and read lots of language that they can understand completely. So where does culture come in? Culture is often mentioned in curricular documents […]

There’s time for a variety of “techniques”, right?

Um, no. There really isn’t. Or, more precisely, it depends on what you mean by “techniques”. The thing that I think a lot of people do not understand is that while it is very accommodating to say “there is time for everything” in the foreign language classroom, the cold hard fact is that there is […]

Making student groups: a souflée that didn’t rise

Or, “how many posts on an e-mail list are ‘too many’ for a given topic?” I note with some amusement a loooong ongoing thread on a foreign language teachers’ e-mail list concerning how to get kids to work in the groups you assign them to work in. This would be the same list that recently […]

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